Leeds businessman has so far made £300
A businessman from Leeds has set up his own premium phone-line in order to make money from marketing companies targeting him with cold calls.
In November 2011, Lee Beaumont set up his personal 0871 number, so now to call him costs 10p, from which he receives 7p.
The Leeds businessman told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme that the premium line had so far made £300.
However, Phone Pay Plus, a premium number regulator, said it strongly discouraged people from adopting this idea.
Mr Beaumont came up with the idea after he grew sick of calls offering to help him reclaim PPI and other marketing cold calls.
He said: "I don’t use my normal Leeds number for anyone but my friends and family."
Once he had set up the 0871 line, every time a bank, gas or electricity supplier asked him for his details online, he submitted it as his contact number.
He added he was "very honest" and the companies did ask why he had a premium number.
He told the programme he replied: "Because I’m getting annoyed with PPI phone calls when I’m trying to watch Coronation Street so I’d rather make 10p a minute."
He said almost all of the companies he dealt with were happy to use it and if they refused he asked them to email.
Because he works from home, Mr Beaumont has been able to increase his revenue by keeping cold callers talking – asking for more details about their services.
He admitted the scheme had changed his attitude, saying: "I want cold calls", and that he had moved on to encouraging companies to make contact.
But the premium number regulator Phone Pay Plus says the public should think twice before setting up their own lines.
They say phone line providers must meet consumer protection standards, which include transparency, fairness and complaint handling, which would mean clearly setting out the cost of each call to any organisation that rang.
They told You and Yours: "Premium-rate numbers are not designed to be used in this way and we would strongly discourage any listeners from adopting this idea, as they will be liable under our code for any breaches and subsequent fines that result."